BRYN TIMEOUTpick-of-the-monthHaworth handles his guitar work with an effortless elegance. The supporting players perform dutifully. This is down-home, folksy blues, often with a rock edge, played to perfection.

Time Out
Artist: Bryn Haworth
Bella Music
12 tracks 44:08

For more than three decades Bryn Haworth has been producing a special brand of pop-laced blues distinctively flavored by his impeccable slide guitar work and accessible working-man's vocals. The guitarist has an impressive catalog of some sixteen albums since his Island Records debut in the seventies, but for some 25 years now has been involved with prison ministry with Time Out being his second project meant for free distribution to inmates – of course, you can get this album and several of his others at .

Starting with a strong band sound on the rocking title track, Haworth's funky groove is strongly supported by classic rock veterans Henry Spinetti on drums and Dave Bronze on bass, both of whom have played with Eric Clapton, Procol Harum, and other rock luminaries.

A "Green Onions" riff introduces "Help Me," a bluesy prayer with some searing guitar lines and an irresistible groove from the band.

The gospel-blues standard, "Sure do Need Him Now," introduces a spare, laid-back acoustic easy-going sound and is followed by the first of two instrumental tracks on the album, "Crying in the Chapel," which is smooth and gentle enough to make you feel like you're listening on a beach with a gentle breeze blowing through your hair. By contrast, the other instrumental, "When I Survey The Wonderous Cross," is a spine-tingling acoustic guitar piece in an Appalachian mode, full of awe and mystery.
"Good Friend," "Motherless Child," and "What a Friend We Have In Jesus," are intimate productions focusing on Haworth's vocals and guitar. Seamlessly blended blues, country, and gospel, there's an intimacy to the production of these songs that make you feel like you're listening to the artist sitting in your living room – or, in the case of the intended audience, perhaps your jail cell. Either way, the end result is the feeling that a friend is telling you about a Friend.

"Nobody Loves Me Like You" is the closest thing here to a pop song, and a good one it is, too – complete with a good hook and a great message. The gospel standard, "All My Trials" follows, and gets an appropriately minor-key rock treatment.
"Psalm 40" sounds like it could have been arranged by the late Felix Pappalardi, if it was part of Mountain's repertoire – nice, thick, sweet guitar lines!

The album ends with "Walking With The Master" (better known as "Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burnin") done in an acoustic blues setting with some call-and-response background vocals and finger snaps. The song features one of the most abrupt endings I can remember, but I suppose that underscores the song's meaning, since the last words are "It won't be long," and then – nothing.

Hopefully, 'it won't be long' until you add this project to your collection. Haworth is a player's player, handling his guitar work with an effortless elegance. The supporting players, as previously mentioned and including Les Moir on bass, Mark Edwards on keyboards and Phil Crabbe on additional percussion, perform dutifully. This is down-home, folksy blues, often with a rock edge, played to perfection. Haworth's vocals are as warm and inviting as his slide guitar work, sounding as if he's talking to you while he's singing – totally void of pretension.

The message, of course, is one of hope and the promise of salvation. As Haworth sings, in "Nobody Loves Me Like You":
"I think it's wonderful that Your thoughts to me are more than all of the sand of the sea. To know that You are for me and that You're not against me I still can't take it all in..."
...and that's good news for all of us prisoners.

Bert Saraco

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